Lab dog playing in wheat

Hero’s Company Story & Team Profiles

The Hero team has a unique combination of perspectives to find the best solution for your pet. The team has an amputee, a veterinarian, a prosthetist, and engineers. Our roots are in rural Nebraska — the heart of the Midwest. Solid customer service, compassion, and healing are the cornerstones of our beliefs.

Our journey helping animals began in 2005, working with Dr. Robert Taylor at Alameda East Veterinary Hospital of Animal Planet’s “Emergency Vets” fame. The unique experiences have allowed us to redesign and advance many bracing techniques in the animal world since that time. The innovative Hero Brace is a result of many hours of research and fun with our furry friends.

In the summer of 2008, Ben had the honor of being asked to speak at a breakfast session in Minneapolis at the 5th International Symposium on Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy in Veterinary Medicine. The session was focused on small animal prosthetics and orthotics. People from all over the world started asking us to help their practices. Since then, we have started working with leading animal rehabilitation professionals to advance the animal orthotic/prosthetic niche.

Innovations continue to expand in this exciting new field. For more information on the latest medical advancements, sign up for our e-newsletter. If you have a specific question regarding Hero Braces, don’t hesitate to contact us. We cannot help your furry friend if you do not ask.

Our company is owned by both a Veterinarian and a Certified Prosthetist-Orthotist.

Ben Blecha - Founder CEO & Bode
Ben Blecha CPO

Ben Blecha

Founder

Ben received his training in orthotics and prosthetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.  As a Certified Orthotist-Prosthetist on the human side, his work experience includes a stint at Shriners Hospitals for Children-Greenville. Ben’s personal experience with osteosarcoma bone cancer and amputation feed his drive to help others.

When introduced to Dr. Robert Taylor of Animal Planet’s Emergency Vets show, Ben was asked to consult on a project for a dog name Triumph.  Ben learned of the limited options available for animals with limb injuries and deformities, inspiring the founding of Hero braces.

Ben continues to work and consult in human orthotics and prosthetics, and has been invited to speak at conferences on both human and animal orthotics and prosthetics, including the annual meeting of the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Associations and the International Association of Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy.

Dr. Watkins Still

Wayne Watkins, DVM

Veterinarian/Co-Founder

Dr. Watkins is a mixed practice veterinarian with more than 30 years of experience successfully treating limb and joint injuries and deformities in more than a half dozen species.  His ability to merge the science of biomechanics with the clinical applications of bracing has been invaluable in fine tuning the construction of Hero braces for practical application by veterinarians.  He joined the Hero team because he believes that bracing offers better outcomes.

Trina Stute

Trina Stute

Technical Director

Trina’s dedication to the Hero team comes from her commitment to help animals heal from painful ACL injuries. With her background in physical education, she has experienced the importance of bracing first hand.

Trina says, “My greatest satisfaction comes from seeing many of our clients so grateful for their animals returning back to normal. This is why I work for Hero.”

As Technical Director, she makes each brace from start to finish, working carefully to ensure a great fit for each animal and communicating with clients to make sure that satisfaction is complete.

Welcome to Hero

Learn more about Ben, the founder of Hero, and the mission to help dogs live full and happy lives.